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March 8 - 21, 2021

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Fritz Breaks New Ground in 3-Set Turnaround

Taylor Fritz arms up celebrating

by Richard Osborn

A year after collecting the first Top-10 win of his career at the BNP Paribas Open, shocking Marin Cilic to reach the third round, American Taylor Fritz has taken it a step further. Battling the effects of a cold and a bullish Spanish opponent, the 20-year-old #NextGen star fought back from a set down to defeat veteran Fernando Verdasco, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(1), in two hours, seven minutes.

“Just to get through that match was — I got to let a lot of emotions out that I kept in,” said Fritz after posting his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 best result. “And to pull out a match whenever it’s close like that can go either way. You’re nervous. It just makes the feeling even better when you win and to have the crowd supporting you, as well. It’s like a dream.”

Fritz moves on to the Round of 16 to face a resurgent Borna Coric. After rising to world No. 33 as a 19-year-old in 2015, Coric went into a bit of a stall. But the now-49th-ranked Croat is again showing signs of life. Through three rounds in Indian Wells, he has dropped just nine games and served up a pair of 6-0 sets.

On Monday, Coric posted a lopsided 6-1, 6-3 upset of 13th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who had already won two titles on the year (Auckland, Dubai).

Agut’s countryman, Pablo Carreno Busta fared better. The 11th seed advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 decision against Russian Daniil Medvedev. He’ll meet No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson in the Round of 16 after the 2017 US Open runner-up defeated Argentine Nicolas Kicker, 6-1, 7-5.

No. 30-seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, a quarterfinalist in Indian Wells last year, was leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-2 when his opponent, No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, retired with an ankle injury.

His fourth-round opponent will be South Korean phenom Hyeon Chung. The 23rd seed upended No. 12 Tomas Berdych in the Stadium 1 nightcap, 6-4, 6-4.

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